SPARC project grantees from five organizations: ICANSERVE (Philippines) is represented by its founding president and Advocacy Committee Chair Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala (front row, second from right)

ICANSERVE Foundation, Inc. is among five organizations participating in the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Challenge that have been selected to receive top-up grants from the the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer Oncology.

With a total of USD 25,000 additional funding to be provided the five organizations, UICC said “projects will be able to expand the reach and impact of their activities.” SPARC projects which address the needs of MBC patients in their countries and across the world. The funding was committed by Pfizer Oncology as part of the third phase of the SPARC MBC Challenge program.

The SPARC program supports MBC projects around the world aimed at addressing patients’ specific needs and reducing the number of women diagnosed at an advanced stage of breast cancer. The projects supported by the SPARC program focus on the reduction of the gap in patient information and support, raising public awareness to reduce stigma and promote earlier diagnosis, advocating for national policies and strengthening health systems to improve MBC patients’ conditions. Since its launch in 2015, it has directly benefitted more than 14,000 MBC patients worldwide and has reached more than 140,000 people through awareness campaigns.

The projects, which were selected from among the 2017 awardees, will continue to work toward improving patient information and patient support gaps in four regions of the world through patient navigation, online learning, digital tools and psychoeducational support.

“Ignite hope: Patient Navigation Program in the Philippines”, ICANSERVE Foundation Inc., Philippines. Additional funding will enable the creation of a facilitator manual in English and in Tagalog. This will increase the reach of the patient navigation training that ICANSERVE launched in 2018 through SPARC, and in which 56 patient navigators have already been trained.

“Metastatic e-Learning Materials for Nurses”, McGrath Foundation, Australia. With the top-up grant, the MBC e-learning materials for nurses created in the SPARC project will be incorporated into a new national model of care. It is expected that this will ultimately contribute to an enhanced quality of life for patients and their families in the country.

“Introducing Patient Navigation to the Caribbean”, Caribbean Cancer Research Initiative (CCRI), Trinidad and Tobago. To complement the patient navigation training program launched through SPARC last year, CCRI will develop an e-campus due to the top-up grant to allow for continuous training among patient navigators in the Caribbean.

“My Alma: a Digital App Supporting Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients”,Hellenic Association of Women with Breast Cancer “Alma Zois”, Greece. After having developed a digital tool for MBC patients in Greek with their SPARC project, Alma Zois will be translating their materials and platform in English: “The top-up funding will give the opportunity to more women living with MBC in Greece and abroad to improve their quality of life and feel less isolated”, says Christiana Mitsi, Director of Alma Zois.

“Joven y Fuerte: Metastatic Component for Young Women with Advanced Breast Cancer”, Alianza Mexicana por el Cáncer MILC, Mexico. To further expand their project supporting young women with advanced breast cancer, MILC will create, test and promote a new psychosocial intervention model with the potential to be replicated across other health care institutions in Mexico.

These projects were selected by the SPARC Selection Advisory Group, a committee of experts in the field of breast cancer chaired by Dr. Fatima Cardoso. The committee has evaluated the expected impact and the sustainability of the activities outlined in the top-up proposals.

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